29 MARCH 1940, Page 6

I have been reading a little belatedly the minutes of

the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Publica- tions and Debates Reports at which Commander King-Hall attempted in vain to convince his fellow-members that Hansard could be popularised and secure a circulation of anything up to 6o,000. At present 1,300 copies are sold at the published price of 6d., and the general public is unaware that it is on ordinary sale, or even that it exists at all. A member of the Government (who, it may be hoped, is better informed on some other subjects) assured Com- mander King-Hall that it is not possible for a private person to buy a copy of Hansard. The question, of course, is whether any substantial number of persons has any desire to read more of the reports of Parliament than are given in the daily papers. I doubt it very much, but an M.P. for a large industrial constituency tells me that in the Free Library m the town he sits for the daily Hansard is read from cover to cover by the unemployed. That suggests various com- ments ; at any rate it casts little light on the question of how many readers would be prepared to pay for Hansard.